Several years ago, at a Syracuse cafe, Wayne Cafariella tasted something that would eventually have an outsized effect on his life. “I had a cup of coffee that blew my mind,” said Cafariella, who was working as a chef. As he rose through the ranks — eventually becoming executive chef of H20 in Smithtown — Cafariella didn’t forget the experience. “I wanted others to have that moment.”
He and two longtime friends, Pete Seybold and Kevin Murray, formed Kings Coast Coffee Co. in 2017. They had a roaster, they had ethically sourced beans from across the world, they had a DIY ethos from playing in hardcore bands together and a plan to direct ship to customers. How to get the word out, though?
Enter Twitch.tv, a live gaming platform. Among the millions of users are not only players but those who watch and chat about games — chats, in turn, that are fertile ground for endorsements, especially those involving caffeine. The Kings Coast founders partnered with two Twitch.tv gamers to introduce Kings Coast on the platform. When the company launched on September 4, 2017, 600 orders rolled in, “and it hasn’t slowed down since,” Cafariella said.
Cafariella now roasts 800 pounds of beans weekly in a Shirley warehouse on a cast-iron roaster painted a striking white. The room reeks, in a good way, of roasted beans (some aging in bourbon barrels) direct-sourced from farms in Tanzania, Uganda and Papua New Guinea, among others. Both custom blends (including one called the Baymen’s Blend, a nod to Cafariella’s father, who was a clammer) and single-origin roasts are shipped daily, but sold in local Whole Foods markets, too.
In April, Kings Coast opened a cafe adjacent to the roastery, coming full circle to Cafariella’s original intention. It’s an elegant spot with a wooden bar where you can get meticulous pour-overs, espresso and lattes, as well as beans that average $15 a bag.
Finding the cafe isn’t simple — it’s in an industrial park — but New York Islanders defenseman Scott Mayfield did just that in April, posting about it on Instagram. Influencers come in many cloaks.
Kings Coast Coffee Co. is open weekdays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., 45 Ramsey Rd., Unit 9, Shirley. kingscoastcoffee.com